By Papisdaff Abdulla
Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has launched the Ghana Zero Hunger Strategic Review Report, aimed at ensuring the realization of Sustainable Development Goal No. 2, which will help the country chart a sustainable path to ending hunger, food insecurity, and all forms of malnutrition by 2030.
In his dddress to an event organized by the John A. Kufuor Foundation and the World Food Programme, President Akufo-Addo noted that Ghana has performed quite well in her efforts at reducing hunger.
“Indeed, we were the first country on the African continent to attain the Millennium Development Goal No. 1 of halving poverty and hunger, for which the country received an award ‘for reducing the level of its malnourished population from 7 million in the early 1990s to less than 1 million today’”, he said.
Whilst paying tribute to the principal architect of this feat, President Kufuor, who, in 2011, received the World Food Prize for cutting hunger in half during his tenure as President, President Akufo-Addo noted that much work needs to be done to end hunger, malnutrition, obesity and micronutrient malnutrition in Ghana.
The President noted that Government has, in the Co-ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies, submitted to Parliament on 13th November, 2017, proposed the reformation of agriculture and industry, spearheaded by programmes such as “planting for food and jobs”, covering some five hundred thousand farmers this year, up from two hundred thousand last year; the “one district, one factory” policy; and the “one village, one dam” initiative.
These programmes, amongst others, the President stressed, will facilitate rural development, and help achieve SDG 2 by 2030.
“Government’s vision is to modernise agriculture, improve production efficiency, achieve food security, and profitability for our farmers, all aimed at significantly enhancing agricultural productivity,” he said.
The Ghanaian leader continued, “The basic objective of policy is to guarantee food self-sufficiency, i.e. that we are able to feed ourselves and wean us off the disgraceful dependence on the importation of foodstuffs we can grow ourselves. We are determined to stand on our own feet – hence our mantra, Ghana Beyond Aid.”
“To ensure food security and promote improved nutrition, the President stated that government is implementing some interventions, including institutional measures, to prevent food losses, such as the district warehousing policy; promoting the production and utilization of locally grown and nutrient-rich food; strengthening early warning and emergency preparedness systems; developing and implementing a nutrition strategy which adopts a life cycle approach to deal with malnutrition at all levels; reviewing and scale up the Regenerative Health and Nutrition Programme (RHNP); eliminating child and adult obesity; and promoting research and development in Food and Nutrition Security (FNS).
“When you consider that women are the first line educators of our children, our communities, our nations, our region and our continent, it is obvious that we empower our children and community by empowering our women. We all appreciate that our women play a key role in achieving food security and improved nutrition. That is why my government has initiated.”
Whilst ensuring that women play an important role in achieving SDG 2, the President stated that women-specific responses to facilitate the achievement of SDG 2 have been put in place.
These, he said, include reducing cultural and administrative limitations that impede women’s access to productive resources, particularly access to credit and agricultural equipment.
“The MASLOC programme has, in this respect, been directed to disburse 50 percent of its loans to women engaged in small-scale farming and businesses. Again, the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), a happy product of the Kufuor era, which provides hot meals daily to pupils of public schools, has also been expanded from four thousand, eight hundred and eighty one (4,881) institutions to cover five thousand, five hundred and twenty eight (5,528) institutions,” he said.
Additionally, the President indicated that the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), which provides stipends to vulnerable households, has been nearly doubled to cover some two hundred and thirteen thousand (213,000) households, noting that “all of these are being done with SDG 2 in mind.”
In seeing to the realisation of the Co-ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies (2017-2024), the President was confident that Ghana will be on the path towards ending hunger and malnutrition.
“Our goal is to build a wealthy and self-confident Ghana that is in charge of its economic destiny; a transformed Ghana that is prosperous enough to be beyond needing aid, which engages competitively with the rest of the world through trade and investment. We are determined to build a new Ghanaian civilization, that will afford a dignified standard of living to all its people,” he said.